I have been perfecting the perfectly cooked filet mignon for years, trying to come up with the most simple, seamless and consistent cook to get it to that perfect Medium Rare…and this past week, I believe I cracked the code!
My least favorite thing about cooking filet mignon (or any steak for that matter) is the mess it creates when you sear it on your stovetop. The grease splatter is enough to make me never want to cook it again, but since it’s my husband’s favorite cut of meat, I have been working on the perfect method of cooking a filet mignon in the oven so as to reduce the mess, streamline the process, and still come out with a perfectly golden crust on the outside, and a perfectly tender inside.
The first thing you must have is a cast iron pan – if you don’t already own one, invest in one. I have a 10-inch pan, which I use for everything from steaks to potatoes, to dips and even cornbread.
The next thing is, before cooking your filet, leave it out on the counter for at least an hour so that it can warm up to room temperature (insuring a more even cook).
Next, pat the meat completely dry with a paper towel and only season your meat RIGHT BEFORE you place it in the pan. Do not add salt to the meat until you’re literally about to place it in the pan. Salt draws moisture out of meat, and moisture will prevent you from getting that super crisp sear on the outside (think of it as creating steam which will impede the searing process). This was probably one of the most invaluable things I learned working in kitchens – and has always produced the most gorgeous sears on any type of meat.
Lastly, once you’ve cooked your steak, let it rest 5 minutes before slicing it to help it reabsorb all the juices (so you’re not left with a puddle of bloody juice on the plate).
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So let’s get cookin!
** NOTE: This cooking method will give you a perfect rare/medium rare (which is how I personally believe filet should be cooked). Should you wish to cook it more, start by adding 1 minute per side to get it closer to a classic medium rare. Add another minute or two to get to Medium.
Castiron Filet Mignon
- 2 8 oz. 1.5 inch thick Filet Mignon Filets
- 2 T Butter
- 1 Garlic Clove (smashed)
- 3 Sprigs Thyme
- Black Pepper
- Heat your oven to 500 degrees. Place your cast iron pan in the oven and allow it to heat up for 10 minutes. This will cause a decent amount of smoke so you may wish to remove your fire detectors.
- Right before you're about to take the pan out of the oven, season both sides of the filets liberally with salt and pepper.
- Place the filets in the pan (a few inches apart) and put in the oven. Cook for 4 minutes. Flip the filets over and cook another 4 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and put your butter, garlic and thyme in the pan. Your butter will melt almost immediately -- using a spoon, hold the pan at an angle and ladle the melted butter (now infused with garlic and thyme) over the steaks constantly for about 20-30 seconds.
- Remove the steak from the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing/serving. Serve with a little of the pan's butter on top.